NAB Asks FCC Chairman's Office to Engage More Directly on Repacking

Group Says Giving Stakeholders More Info Now Could Save Revisions Later
Publish date:
Updated on

The National Association of Broadcasters is urging acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn's office to be more transparent about how the FCC plans to repack TV stations after the incentive auctions.

In a meeting with Clyburn staffers last week, according to FCC documents, NAB executive vice president Rick Kaplan and other association officials signaled they were ready to role up their sleeves and tackle outstanding issues, but said that the FCC needed to engage "more directly with outside stakeholders."

While NAB said the FCC was pleased to get more input on repacking software from the commission, he also asked staffers "to engage more directly with external stakeholders on the repacking model itself." NAB says that noone outside the commission or its contractors has "any information" about the important decisions being made on the repacking model, which has not been released, or any idea when it will be released.

"[T]he staff could save significant time and effort by engaging stakeholders at this juncture as opposed to waiting until the final proposal is complete," the association says, adding that that could save "significant after-the-fact revisions.".

NAB also urged the FCC to lift its freeze on station modification applications or immediately put out an order. The FCC has frozen those moves until it figures out the repacking plan.

The repacking plan is essentially how the FCC will reconfigure the spectrum band to fit both broadcasters and wireless companies, including TV stations moving, giving up spectrum and sharing. NAB has likened it to a second DTV transition.

The FCC had no comment, but at a recent hearing, FCC auction point man Gary Epstein pointed out that the FCC had held four workshops, issues public notices, collected 460 comments, and spoken with NAB more than 15 times. "We welcome their engagement," he said.